Open that gate to Martins Beach

December 15, 2014
San Francisco Chronicle

Billionaire Vinod Khosla sure must enjoy spending some of his disposable income on lawyers. His enduring determination to keep the public off Martins Beach — even after being so ordered by a San Mateo judge — all but guarantees another pile of legal fees and a trip back to the courthouse.

His stubbornness is as perplexing as some of his attorneys’ arguments for keeping surfers and other beachgoers away from this stretch of San Mateo coastline.

An investor as savvy as Khosla had to know when he paid $37.5 million for a 53-acre plot in 2008 that it included a popular path to a beach about 6 miles south of Half Moon Bay. And he had to know that Californians have a sense of entitlement to their coastline that is well supported by legal precedent.

It seemed as if the case for the open gate was finally closed when Judge Barbara Mallach recently ordered Khosla to allow access to the beach. In September, she had ruled that Khosla changed the nature of public access without getting the required permits from the California Coastal Commission.

Yet the padlock remained on the gate last week.

This standoff has gone on long enough. At one point, Khosla’s legal team had cited the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo between the United States and Mexico as justification for the denial of public access. That rather bizarre argument prevailed in an early ruling, but quickly left the scene as if it were a branch of driftwood in the surf... (To read the entire article, please click HERE)